Guide to summer fans
Summer fans is a general term referring to all kinds of (mostly) portable fans. The fans differ in construction, operation and application. They are called summer fans because they are mostly used during the summer for a short period of time, only a few hours at a time. Once the weather cools down again they are stored in the attic, cellar or whatever little storage space is available. To summarize, in contrast to ceiling fans which are used year round (for cooling in summer and heat recover in winter), summer fans are only used during the hot periods of the year. Learn more about the different kinds in the following guide.
- Which kind of summer fans are there?
- Alternative for year-round use
- Industrial fans & wind machines
Which kinds of summer fans are there?
Those fans differ in construction and the way they operate. The category includes desk / table fans, pedestal fans, floor fans as well as wall-mounted fans.
Desk fans, Table fans – small, portable, powerful
These small fans are often found on the office desk or in reception rooms. They have small dimensions and sturdy foot to prevent tilting. They come in a variety of designs ranging from vintage vibes to ultra-sleek and modern with finishes such as metallic chrome or multicoloured. There is really no limit to the design options of table fans. Their airflow rate is usually stated in cubic metres per hour (m3/h) and is determined by the rotation speed of the motor, the diameter of the fan wheel as well as quantity, inclination and profile of the fan blades. It should be noted that a fancy design will often – though not always – indicate a decrease in airflow and efficiency. The best size-to-performance ratio is usually found in simple, non-nonsense desk fans made from plastic with a medium diameter (ca. 30 cm). However, aesthetics become increasingly important especially concerning appliances used at home. Many manufacturers have begun to combine high airflow and functionality with innovative design. Nowadays, more and more desk fans incorporate a carrying handle on the housing as well as a full control panel at the base. An oscillation feature, meaning a swiveling motion from left to right, is found in almost all table fans at this point.
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Fans of this sub-type are available in various designs. In addition to normal pedestal fans with a round fan head, tower fans are also part of this category. The way tower fans operate is decidedly different from the way standard pedestal fans work, even though both versions provide consistent, good airflow rates. The vertical position of the impeller wheel or drum wheels inside tower fans work more quiet than pedestal fans. Fins on the inside direct the movement of the air volume and distribute it throughout the room. In order to ensure an even distribution most tower fans have an oscillation feature.
Pedestal fans work just like desk fans, with the difference that they are much bigger. They have an electrically operated drive shaft that moves the fan wheel. This creates a suction effect on the backside of the fan, bringing in the air from the back and blowing it out to the front. The velocity of the created airflow brings a cooling effect. Most pedestal fans also incorporate an oscillation feature that moves the entire fan head from side to side. The head is mounted to a pole which can be adjusted in height in most cases.
Some pedestal fans are equipped with a battery and can be used on the balcony or patio.
When the fans are specifically marked with a special IP code, they can be used in damp areas such as outdoors without any covers or in greenhouses. The light breeze of pedestal and tower fans can help plants to grow and prevents heat spots. The fans must have a waterproof IP rating, otherwise the copper parts on the inside do not have enough insulation and will begin to rust quickly.
If you plan to use the fan at night to help you sleep, make sure to check the noise level is not too high. Often the pedestal fans have a higher noise level than tower fans. This is due to their construction and use of a single fan wheel with various blades instead of a barrel.
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Floor fans – powerful all-rounders
Floor fans are particularly popular with photographers, restaurant and business owners. The way these fans work is exactly the same as desk and pedestal fans. The only difference is the name and place of application. These fans are usually constructed in a solid, sturdy way to allow for accident-free placement on the ground. Though their place of application can also be changed to desks or cupboards if the device is small enough. Sometimes larger machines are used in professional environments such as construction sites to help with the drying process. If the item is powerful enough, they also provide wind for photo shoots that add movement to a model’s hair, clothes, etc. Another use is for cooling bars or restaurants. Fans of this subtype really are the most versatile in application as long as you have a power outlet. These models often do not have an oscillation feature. They also have a more sturdy and heavy look to them.
Circulators are also part of this group. Circulators create a three-dimensional airflow that helps to provide cooling in summer and recirculate heat in the winter.
Wall fans – “Cool” eyecatchers
Wall-mounted fans work exactly the same as the afore-mentioned types. This specimen is not portable, though. Instead they mounted to the wall permanently where they are always visible. That is why most manufacturers go for aesthetic designs that are mostly found in office buildings, catering outlets as well as hotels. They often incorporate an oscillation feature.
These fans usually provide a control panel on the base that is fitted to the wall. An increasing number of wall-mounted fans is supplied with a remote control as well.
Alternative for year-round use
If you are looking for an appliance that provides airflow the whole year round, we recommend going for a ceiling fan instead. Their central position on the ceiling and bigger diameter create a much more efficient airflow than a small portable fan, even though they rotate much slower. The standard forward (or “summer”) running direction is used in the summer where it generates a cooling breeze. The reverse “winter” direction instead recirculates heat, forcing it down to the ground, therefore helping to cut heating bills during the cold seasons of the year. The running direction is determined by little slide switch on the motor housing, modern ceiling fans with a DC motor can be reversed by a button the provided remote control.
Some ceiling fans can also be used outdoors as long as they are rated with a suitable IP code to prevent water damage to the sensitive electronics. This allows for a pleasant cooling experience on the patio or gazebo.
Industrial fans & Wind machines – Heavy duty equipment
These fans are portable as well, however they are not suitable at all for use in residential environments. This is not only due to their large size, but also due to their incredible airflow that comes with an increased noise level. These fans are used for construction drying or to generate wind in factories.
They work just like their small pedestal counterparts, only they use much more force. The air is sucked into the fan wheel from one side and is blown out at rapid speed and in a high volume on the other side. These appliances are improved in terms of performance and functionality, there is no focus on aesthetic design. They need to be robust and powerful, not stylish.
Industrial fans are a bit smaller than wind machines and generate a less powerful airflow, though it is still powerful enough for professional application. They are often used to cool storage units, dispatch areas in shipping departments or create an intense airflow for photo shootings.